The Turkish government is considering opportunities, including a shutdown, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the face of an increase in daily coronavirus cases that have recently climbed to record highs.
Officials are discussing possible measures to be taken during Ramadan, which is set to begin on April 13, and the government is more inclined to the idea of imposing a closure instead of introducing a full lock-in across the country to bring the outbreak under control.
Experts point out that there is a difference between a closure and a lock-in, as the latter includes stopping all production and distribution operations across the country that Turkey has never started to date.
A possible closure during Ramadan will lead to certain measures such as closing restaurants and cafes and probably hairdressing salons and gyms, as well as restrictions on the mobility of people aged 65 and 20. Turkey already introduced such restrictions towards the end of 2020 when COVID-19 took over.
The government is expected to make a final decision on Ramadan measures this week.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan already announced that there would be nationwide closures on weekends, and restaurants would only be allowed to offer takeaway services during Ramadan.
Turkey has recently reintroduced the locking of weekends, which lasts from 21.00. on Fridays to 5 on Mondays for very high risk provinces.
This weekend, millions of people were to be home in 58 provinces, including Istanbul, which are categorized as high-risk cities.
However, people continued to break the rules to venture out, especially in Istanbul over the weekend. Foreign tourists are exempt from lockdown. Some locals said they went out to enjoy the sun and good weather while other offenders gave excuses such as shopping for Ramadan.
There were even people who traveled to Istanbul from their hometowns where they brought food to consume during Ramadan.
The number of cases in Istanbul has increased almost ten times compared to the beginning of March, and the city now accounts for 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases registered in the country, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
“The situation in Istanbul determines [outbreak] the situation in the country. If we can protect Istanbul, then we can protect the country, “Koca wrote on Twitter on April 9.
He also noted that 85 percent of the cases registered are variants of COVID-19, and calls the vaccination the “biggest weapon” against the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, experts warn that PCR tests do not detect the virus strains, which could be one of the reasons for the surge in the cases.
We are increasingly seeing false negative test results, even though the person is showing all the symptoms of COVID-19. The first, second and even a third test run on these people will be negative, “said Professor İsmail Balık from Ankara University’s Medical School.
Tyrkias regjering vurderer muligheter, inkludert en nedstengelse, under den islamske hellige måneden Ramadan i møte med en økning i daglige koronavirustilfeller som nylig har klatret til rekordhøyder.
Tjenestemenn diskuterer mulige tiltak som skal treffes under Ramadan, som skal begynne 13. april, og regjeringen er mer tilbøyelig til ideen om å innføre en nedleggelse i stedet for å innføre en full låsing over hele landet for å bringe utbruddet under kontroll.
info from tyrkianytt.no